There are not many reasons better for a long day out, or a bucket list travel journey, than the fun to be had at a theme park. The rides, the costumed characters, even the overpriced food and merchandise is an experience most of us will indulge in.
On ABC Perth Saturday Breakfast we had a wonderful discussion about our theme park experiences which, it must be said, included some embarrassing moments. Enjoy the audio file below and then below that, just a few words to help with your own memories of theme parks:
My tv childhood in a four-word nutshell was: The Banana Splits Show
Even better than the cartoons and antics of The Banana Splits were the opening and closing credits, much of which showed them having fun at Six Flags Over Texas, a 1960’s era theme park still going strong today. Lots of log rides into water and stomach heaving roller coasters. It was the first place I ever wanted to visit.
Theme Parks From Perth’s Past:
Atlantis: King Neptune and his trident watching protectively over his leaping dolphins.
Dizzy Lamb Park: Bumper boats, creaking ferris wheels, a few worn out kangaroos and from the footage I’ve seen, plenty of piles of yellow sand to throw sand boondies.
El Caballo Blanco: White horses goose stepping, dancing and prancing to shouts of Ole!
Wanneroo Lion Park: Ex-circus lions with a warning sign, “Trespassers will be eaten”.
Armadale’s Pioneer Village: Every kid could get a wanted poster with their pic on it and tough old boiled lollies would last the journey between Armadale and Albany.
The Overseas Experience:
Legoland: Lego themed rides and even a driving school and Lego boats. The only Lego experience they haven’t perfected is the walking on a Lego brick experience.
Disneyland: If the Banana Splits opening credits didn’t inspire your first travel bucket list item then it was most likely Disneyland, particularly when once a week the Wonderful World of Disney would come on the telly (I said telly) and the opening credits would show clips of Disneyland, including the monorail that looked like Captain Nemo’s submarine (I had the lunchbox). Visiting Disneyland was completely wonderful, particularly rides like the Jungle Cruise. The classic Tea Cups continue to boggle my mind. How do they spin and circle around on a turntable at the same time?
Movie Inspired: Sharknado! Perhaps it’s age inappropriate that Tom’s favourite movies are the Sharknado series so an opportunity to visit Sunway in KL to experience Sharknado was too good to be true and unexpectantly scary and gory. Sunway is gloriously full of water slides and aquatic themed fun.
Waterbom Park is an institution for many people who visit Bali. I did a slide that I got stuck in and the pipe had to be opened to let me out.
Haw Par Villa: I’m looking forward to describing this in more detail at a later date. Let’s just say this is a theme park like no other. It’s been frightening Chinese children in Singapore since 1937. Be Good! Or else!
Theme Parks are Hidden Treasures because … just like the Banana Splits theme says; you can have a “mess of fun and there’s lots of fun for everyone” and no doubt you’ll come home with an overpriced fridge magnet or coffee cup with your photo on it, to always remember a great day out.
On Saturday evening, 18 September, I spoke on 95.3fm about my regular Malaysian travels, Malaysian food and Malaysian tourism strategies.
We also spoke about Rajah Brooke butterflies, the JDT Tigers, the benefits and consequences of spicy food and how much I enjoy using the rail network (particularly the monorail) in Kuala Lumpur to travel the city.
The file above is from a conversation on ABC radio, The Breakfast Show with Charlotte and Jamie, about virtual reality tourism. I hope you enjoy listening to it.
Virtual Reality Tourism has the potential to shake up the travel industry in a lot of good ways.
I had the opportunity last year with my son to be the first to experience the Virtual Reality Roller Coaster at Legoland Malaysia and the combination of reality and virtual reality made an entirely new sensory experience that was exciting and wonderful.
Over the years, I’ve described to people on radio, to students in classrooms and to my friends and family the experience of trekking the jungles of Borneo, retracing the footsteps of Australian and British Prisoners of War. While slipping on a pair of goggles in the comfort of your sofa will not give you a sense of exhaustion and emotion, it will give you an experience that is different to listening to reading. Seeing in your goggles the clinging vines, sucking mud, slippery slopes and rocks will inform your mind and help create new ways to understand a story you have been told or read about.
Virtual Reality tourism may create a whole new binge opportunity. Rather than spending the whole day watching every series of a favourite tv show, you could scuba dive all day long and all around the world, or wander the great museums of the world.
The cultural sensitivity of many areas may create amazing virtual reality opportunities, such as climbing Uluru.
Virtual reality tourism will help those with disability and affordability issues to join in experiences they may otherwise not be able to do. Virtual reality tourism will enable the tourism industry to offer more, on a scale that is inclusive and safe.
I wish I could claim the line, “A very vroomy experience,” but I can’t. The honour for that line belongs to my son, eight year old Tom Parry and the first kid in the world to experience the shock and awe of the new Legoland Malaysia Virtual Reality Roller Coaster.
This ride is a real roller coaster and a real virtual reality experience. You’re strapped in to a real world roller coaster and then the goggles come over your face and you’re completely immersed in the world of Lego. Look back at the people in the seat behind you and you’ll see a Lego world. Look above you to the real world blue sky above Legoland and you’ll see a Lego world. Look to the sides, look to the front and you are completely Lego-bound.
The ride has just opened and to experience this and other attractions head to Legoland Malaysia, located in Johor Bahru.
Many airlines fly from Australian capital cities to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, including Qantas, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, AirAsia and Singapore Airlines. Legoland is a one to two hour drive from Singapore’s Changhi International Airport or a short domestic flight from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru.
Make the experience complete by staying at the Legoland Hotel. An Adventure-themed room will cost from AU$216 and each room has its own treasure hunt, Lego bricks to build (and step on) and all guests have entry to the Legoland Theme Park and Legoland Water Park one hour before the gates open to the public. An adult one-day ticket combo includes entry to the theme park and water park and is about AU$60. A child one-day ticket combo is about AU$40.